Stories published in November, 2015

If you’re looking for a Tamasha – don’t watch this, if you’re looking for passion, this is your movie!

Watching the promo of Tamasha, I felt more than a little disappointed. Although I love Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, the promo was a little too much like Yeh Jawani Hai Dewaani or any other Bollywood chick flick. After a mind-boggling and goose bump-triggering film like Highway, a chick flick is not what I would expect from Imtiaz Ali, hence the disappointment. As a self-proclaimed writer myself, I have always looked up to Imtiaz Ali for his ability to write a simple story and turn it into something phenomenal on screen. Highway, I felt, was his magnum opus. So I decided not to judge Tamasha by its preview and give the movie a ...

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There can be no “war on terror” without “war on drugs”

Few have witnessed the senseless barbarity of ISIS without rhetorically asking what these brutes have been smoking recently. As it happens, this question is not only pertinent, but strategically impossible to ignore. Captagon, although swallowed and not smoked, is a powerful amphetamine that’s historically landed Saudi Princes into massive scandals. The illicit drug is popular in the Middle East as it’s relatively cheap and easy to manufacture, and serves as an effective stimulant for, say, a militant who has to stay up all night looking out for incoming Russian fighter planes. Turkish authorities have recently seized nearly 11 million Captagon pills near the Syrian border. The similar ...

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Women, power, privilege and Black Friday videos in Pakistan

Every year during the US post-Thanksgiving Day Black Friday sales, videos of brawls in the midst of the shopping madness at “big box” stores like Walmart and Target go viral. This year in Pakistan, on the same day, a video was widely shared of women fighting during a one-year anniversary sale at the retail store Sapphire, which claims to provide “affordable designer clothes to the masses”. The Sapphire sale — like the door-buster Black Friday sales at Walmart— is designed to create a mad rush. Sapphire marked down limited, heavily-marketed and widely-desired products by 50 per cent. If you didn’t get to the ...

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Why aren’t oil companies apologising for the oil spills in Nigeria?

The current world economy is structured in such a way that the fossil fuel industry has unquestionable hegemonic power. Developed and developing economies alike need energy to sustain and grow. This energy market is monopolised by the fossil fuel industry. Oil, natural gas and other energy producing fossil fuels have not only helped build some of the biggest companies in the world, but have also aided the development and solidification of certain national economies like the Gulf states and Venezuela. This monopoly in the energy sector seems to have given oil corporations power over states – allowing certain companies to be careless in cleaning up massive oil ...

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He Named Me Malala is the story of an ordinary girl who made a tough choice

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” This bit of wisdom comes from Paulo Coelho, in his bestseller, The Alchemist. The other day when I was watching the film He Named Me Malala, the incredible story of the youngest Noble laureate and activist for education from the Swat district of Pakistan, Coelho’s wise words echoed in my heart. I realised that once an individual decides to stand up with courage and conviction for a great cause, nothing can stop him/her from achieving their goals. One just needs to conquer the fear of failure. He Named Me ...

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A lesson in entrepreneurship: From the Khoka at LUMS to Monal in Islamabad

Luqman Afzal is a graduate from the BSc class of 2002. He graduated with a major in Economics and minor in Social Sciences. During his time at LUMS, his entrepreneurial spirit was nurtured and to date he has continued to cultivate his zest for entrepreneurship. He is fast paving his way up the hospitality industry in Islamabad. Here he talks about his journey, from managing a cafe at LUMS to establishing a fine dining restaurant. “It still seems like yesterday, though it has been 14 years, when I asked my father for money to buy the LUMS Khokha Inc shares. Buying ...

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Younus Khan, the enduring and artistic hat lover

Inexperience doesn’t pay – but getting better sure does. The immaturity and inexperience would bring disgrace to any young team, but one dynamic leader in the middle-order could bring the ship to right direction. Younus Khan, the one mature enough in his prime form and who solidly worked on and off the field to make an impressive score in cricketing circles for Pakistan was also followed by the grand milestones. “I am playing for the nation of Pakistan and it makes me feel so proud whenever I walk on the ground. I owe it to my coaches, family, and friends and above all ...

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My life as a Muslim in the West’s ‘Gray Zone’

Some months ago, I gave a reading from my most recent novel in Scottsdale, Ariz. During the discussion that followed, a woman asked me to talk about my upbringing in Morocco. It’s natural for readers to be curious about a writer they’ve come to hear, I told myself. I continued to tell myself this even after the conversation drifted to Islam, and then to ISIS. Eventually, another woman raised her hand and said that the only Muslims she saw when she turned on the television were extremists.  “Why aren’t we hearing more from people like you?” she asked me. “You are,” ...

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Are we purposely ignoring child sexual abuse in Pakistan (and our homes)?

The Pakistani media’s convincing rhetoric regarding the term sexual abuse and heart wrenching words such as ‘rape’ and ‘molestation’ have rightly highlighted the unjust practices that continue to affect our society. However, at times (or always) the hidden truth remains buried in the ground and the untold stories of millions are seldom brought to light. How many of you had the slightest idea that your helpless seven-year-old son, who wholeheartedly recited the Holy Quran alongside his so-called honest and unadulterated qaari sahib, was being sexually abused continuously in a barricaded room? We enjoy labelling ourselves as humble and modest beings when in truth we are the ...

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Salahuddin Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mujahid hangings: A case of ‘judicial murder’?

Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, a senior opposition leader and former minister in Khaleda Zia’s government, and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid of the Jamaat-e-Islami party were sent to the gallows last Sunday. The state of Bangladesh held them accountable for war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence. The state’s actions have received widespread criticism from opposition parties and international human rights groups – not for their alleged war crimes, but in the way the entire trial was conducted. The defendants were not given a fair opportunity to produce their witnesses for their defence. The International Crimes Tribunal had awarded capital punishment to Chowdhury and Mujahid in October 2013. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh, ...

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